If you have been following the blog at all this year, you know we have been deep in the trenches of the 2016 Reading Challege from Tim Challies. This has been a huge stretch for me, maybe not so much for Luke, but I have read more books in the past year than in the past 5 years, at least, combined! Maybe because I love traveling so much, I have most enjoyed all of the places and cultures and histories that I explored. I've read about events that I thought I understood, only to have a new perspective teach me that maybe I am not as wise as I thought.
This year, many of you may have also felt in the trenches of political drama, racial tension, social divides and stereotyped misunderstandings. Honestly, I have avoided most of it, being abroad for the entirety of 2016. But it has even reached here and its been humbling for me to hear so much commentary on my own country's problems from outsiders. It has reminded me, as traveling often has, of how steeped my identity is in the place and people that birthed me. I have a deep desire for other people to understand where I came from, not just where I am now. And I think to give that gift of understanding to others is priceless.
So... for 2017, I challenge you to take a journey with me. We are going to journey across the globe and explore people and cultures that are 100% foreign territory to us. We are going to learn about their past, live in their present and dream about their future. We are going to explore their arts and their language, taste their foods and then share what we've learned. Here's the rules :
FIRST Pick One Country per Month :
Each country should ideally be one that you have never visited, and know very little about. I'm going to space mine equally among the continents (except North America, of course!) If you know there is a large community of immigrants from a specific place in your area, I would encourage you to start there.
SECOND, Each Month :
----> Read a Non-fiction Book about their History
----> Read a Fiction Book by a Native Author
----> Watch a Movie produced in Country
(In some cases this may be impossible, in which you can find a Hollywood movie that features the country)
----> Listen to their Music
----> Follow their Current News for the whole Month
(If you are using an app like Flipboard, its easy to add a specific country to your news feed).
----> Try their Food via Cooking or an Authentic Restaurant
----> Learn 5 Words or Phrases from their Mother Tongue
THIRD, Share :
I'll be sharing each month's travel plans and learnings on my blog. I would also encourage you to share your progress on your blog or via social media. You can use the hash tag #2017TravelbytheBook to connect. Maybe we can also inspire others to explore far off lands and distant (or no-so-distant) peoples.
In the next couple of weeks, I'll be coming out with more details, resources, ideas and printables for keeping track of your progress. Once I finalize my country itinerary, I'll be packing my Christmas list with some new books. What about you?
Are you ready to go?
Luke and I are married and have four little munchkins that travel the world with us. I blog about living overseas, travel, kids, education and graphic design.
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